Heritage Conservancy held its Celebration for Conservation fundraising dinner on Saturday, September 12th, at the 190-acre Whispering Woods Farm in Durham Township, PA. Surrounded by fields of corn and soy and rolling hills, close to 150 people joined together to celebrate the community support and conservation successes of our beautiful region while dining on a gourmet meal.
Located along the Delaware River, the preserved Whispering Woods Farm served as the perfect backdrop to enjoy Heritage Conservancy’s mssion in action. This working farm was preserved through the Bucks County Agricultural Land Preservation Program with assistance from Heritage Conservancy and Durham Township. It is adjacent to over 1,500 acres of permanently protected open space that stretches from the Delaware River west across Durham Township to its border with Springfield Township.
The owners of the farm, Pat Cook and Al Snyder of AP Creations, LP, have been long-time business members of Heritage Conservancy. Back in 2011 when they were considering preserving the farm, they reached out to Heritage Conservancy for guidance, and the Conservancy assisted them through the process of applying to the Durham Township Agricultural Security Area and the Bucks County Agricultural Land Preservation Program. It takes a village to preserve our area’s special places, and Heritage Conservancy was thrilled to have had the opportunity to connect the community with this agricultural treasure while highlighting the important role that partnerships played in protecting it.
And enjoy it they did! Inclement weather didn’t prevent our community from enjoying all that the property had to offer. Accessorized with upbeat excitement and the shelter of an umbrella, attendees hopped onto the back of a tractor for property tours by hayride. While the lower level of the property allowed guests to feel immersed in pristine agricultual land, the upper level provided breathtaking views as it parallels the Highlands Trail and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
At the conclusion of this tour that illustrated the depth of Heritage Conservancy’s mission, guests delighted in a barbecue-style meal prepared by Jamie Hollander Gourmet Foods and Catering while the smooth sounds of live-music performed by Lorenzo Branca emanated throughout the tent. After dinner, Heritage Conservancy staff members and partners in preservation spoke to the group about the reason for the evening. Speeches were filled with a strong message of the importance of protecting our natural and historic heritage, and the powerful speakers helped to drive that message home.
Jeff Marshall, President of Heritage Conservancy, asked attendees to raise their hands if they lived on or close to a preserved property. Nearly everyone raised their hands. Even those who didn’t raise their hands understood the importance and benefit of protected lands.
“As the global population increases, a doubling of demand for food, fiber and fuel will weigh upon our forests, our grasslands, our wetlands — on all our natural resources. What Heritage Conservancy does has never been more urgent,” forewarned Mr. Marshall.
This focus on the land and what it provides for us was further emphasized by Pat Cook.
“Farming cares about the community, its workers, and the environment. Whatever new technology comes along, we all will always rely on the gifts of soil and rain. Acknowledging our gifts makes us want to use them,” said a heartfelt and teary-eyed Pat Cook, co-owner of Whispering Woods Farm, to the group. “We felt that we have something wonderful here, which needed to be shared. Dare to dream! Thank you for allowing us to share ours with you.”
Heritage Conservancy was thrilled to offer this opportunity to directly connect community members to a property that their support has helped the organization to preserve. It’s one thing to protect our open spaces and historic places, but it’s another to experience them firsthand. Celebration for Conservation was a true celebration of our region’s conservation successes and the partnerships and community support that have made them all possible.
Thank you to the following Celebration for Conservation sponsors: Jamie Hollander Gourmet Foods & Catering, PPL Corporation, Preservation Works Ltd., Addison Wolfe Real Estate, AmeriStructure LLC, Brooks & Barber Tree Management, Bucks Digital Printing, Fox Rothschild LLP, National Penn Bank, and Peruzzi Toyota.